COVID-19: Ministry defends decision not to close schools

The Education Ministry has stated that COVID-19 infections have not spread in school settings, and assured that schools are safe and controlled environments.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Greater Male’ Region have been increasing significantly over the past few days, and authorities have strengthened precautionary measures in response to the spike in infections. While the number of daily cases have hovered over 100 for a while, the Maldives registered over 200 positive cases over the past 24 hours. Some parents have voiced concern over the fact that schools have not been closed under the new precautionary measures.

While classes for grades 1 to 6 have switched online effective from Sunday, students in grades 7 to 12 are required to attend physical classes at school. Baby nursery and preschools have also been closed. Colleges and universities have also been instructed to conduct classes online. The measures are in place for two weeks.

State Minister of Education, Athiya Naseer said the ministry decided against closing schools after ensuring that schools are safe environments under the current circumstances. Noting that teams from the Education Ministry carried out inspections at Male’ City schools over the past ten days, Athiya said all schools are adhering to HPA guidelines.

Further noting that some students and teachers have tested positive for COVID-19 since schools reopened, Athiya said they did not get infected in the school setting. Therefore, it is important to state this as a fact when reporting such news, said Athiya. She further urged parents to continue sending students to school, and assured that the school environment is safe for both students and teachers.

Athiya also shed light on the importance of attending physical classes. While students lost almost an year of school last year, the negative effects have been very detrimental, said the state minister. Athiya pointed out that the cancellation of physical classes could mentally affect students and cause disruption to their education, which could in turn result in students losing interest in studies.